A corrosive satire of stardom in general, and the theatre world in particular, All About Evestars Bette Davis as an insecure theatre diva, and Anne Baxter as Eve, the young woman whobefriends Davis but is a the conniving, fawning sociopath who will stop at nothing for her ownstab at stardom. George Sanders (stealing every scene he’s in as a sublimely cynical critic) is onelof the only people who can see through Eve. Baxter overdoes the fawning, so it becomes difficultto bel…eve that everyone is so taken in. But perhaps that too is part of the film’s point: everyonebelieves what they want to believe, no matter how stupid that belief is.
The sound options are mono and 2.0 stereo. My advice is to avoid the stereo mix. Thesurround effect of the dialogue is too loud, too grating, and too distracting. The distortions aresimply nor worth a little pump-up in the music. The mono is warm and clean, and more thansuitable to a film famous for dialogue, not sound effects.
The print is in marvellous shape, with no damage and hardly any grain. There aren’t any edgeenhancement or haloing problems either. There is a bit of picture shake about 80 minutes in,however, and the occasional flicker. Otherwise, this looks gorgeous. The format is, of course,the original 1.33:1.
Two commentaries here. One has brief contributions by star Celeste Holm, but is otherwisethe province of Christopher Mankiewicz (son of writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz) andMankiewicz biographer Kenneth Geist. The second commentary is by Sam Staggs, author of All About ‘All About Eve.’ There’s some interesting tension between the commentaries,since Geist really dislikes Staggs’ book. There is also considerable overlap, with all three mengoing over some of the same stories. Still more information, in more compact form, comes byway of an AMC Backstory episode. The other extras mostly archival material: Movietone newsreels (four of them) of the film receiving various awards; promotional reels featuring interviewswith Davis and Baxter (think of these as 1950s versions of featurettes), and the trailer (whichincorporates some of the same interviews). Finally, there is a restoration comparison and trailersfor the other films in the Studio Classics series: Gentleman’s Agreement and How Green WasMy Valley. The menu is basic.
A fine edition of one of the Great Movies. Very strongly recommended.
Special Features List
- 2 Audio Commentaries
- 4 Movietone News Reels
- Original Interviews with Bette Davis and Anne Baxter
- Restoration Comparison
- AMC Backstory Episode